But after nearly two decades of slick and smug, Americans appear desperate for a president they can trust — maybe even admire. They want Mr. Smith, or at least the closest we can get nowadays (not very).
Obama has been the chief beneficiary. His campaign has eschewed the negative, bolstering his appeal as a unifier. On the GOP side, McCain and Huckabee have thrived largely because of their authenticity. Meanwhile, shrill divisiveness and phony pandering has doomed the candidacies of Hillbot and The Anchorman.
Whether this is a blip, a trend or a tide remains to be seen, but everyone who’s not a blind partisan should be encouraged.
And Bush 41 should feel vindicated — character, it seems, really does count, at least in 2008.